More pupils in the future across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire will have access to specially trained mental health practitioners thanks to funding for a new programme.

Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group successfully bid for funding to be part of NHS England’s Mental Health Support Team (MHST) Trailblazer programme.

The programme is already being implemented in Swindon and has been successfully rolled out in a number of other areas across the country. Now pupils across B&NES and Wiltshire will benefit from the second wave once the scheme starts in January 2020.

The scheme will see MHSTs working directly in selected schools and colleges across the region by providing on-site access to early mental health support.

The teams will provide early intervention for mild to moderate mental health issues, such as exam stress, low mood or friendship difficulties as well as providing support to staff. They will also act as a link with local specialist children and young people’s mental health services ensuring, if appropriate, that pupils can access more intensive support.

The funding for the scheme comes as recent public engagement driven by local health and care organisations has found that young people would prioritise better and faster access to mental health services.

One in nine young people aged 5 to 15 had a diagnosable mental health condition in 2017 and teenagers with a mental health disorder are more than twice as likely to have a mental disorder in adulthood. This package of measures is part of the Government’s plan to improve mental health support for children and young people, including identifying mental health issues before they become more acute.

Wiltshire Council Cabinet member for children, Pauline Church said:
“Now more than ever young people are under pressure, stress and social anxiety can cause real problems which affect their wellbeing and mental health”. “We know there is some excellent support out there already. This Trailblazer programme will build on that and provide even more support, earlier and where young people tell us that they want to receive it – in schools. The programme will help young people to improve their emotional health and wellbeing and get back on track.
Lucy Baker, Acting Commissioning Director for Maternity, Children and Mental Health at Wiltshire CCG said:
“It’s fantastic news that we’ve received funding for this important scheme. We know children, young people, their parents, supporters and carers want to be able to access mental health services quickly and easily and the Trailblazer scheme is a significant step forward in enabling that to happen.”
Dr David Soodeen, Clinical Director for the South West Mental Health Clinical Network, said:
“The process of growing up can lead to a number of issues which can impact upon the mental health of children and young people – exam stress, behavioural difficulties or friendship issues to name just a few. We believe that if intervention can take place early on, it may help stop worries becoming much bigger mental health issues. “By putting mental health support teams in to schools and colleges, the Trailblazer programme offers a really exciting opportunity to work differently with young people, supporting their mental health needs at an earlier stage and in a familiar setting. “Improving access to mental health support is a key theme of the NHS’ Long Term Plan and our congratulations go to everyone involved in securing this funding  – this will make a real difference to the local population and we look forward to working with both them, and colleagues in education, on delivering their plans.”

Medvivo has again, been given the highest rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after it was first declared ‘outstanding’ in April 2017 for its GP Out of Hours service in Wiltshire.

Medvivo has been providing the Integrated Urgent Care service for Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire since May 2018. This brings together GP Out of Hours with NHS 111 and a new Clinical Assessment Service.  This second consecutive outstanding rating for an urgent care provider is unprecedented.

Following the CQC visit in January 2019, a full report based on the evidence gathered throughout the inspection has been published. Specific areas singled out include:

  • Clear vision and person-centred approach
  • Strong governance processes
  • Well-coordinated patient care
  • Best in class safeguarding
  • A “unique commitment” to public and patient engagement 
  • Rigorous monitoring of performance 
  • Exemplary use of data to support the whole health economy

Medvivo’s Managing Director, Liz Rugg, is immensely proud of the Medvivo team and comments: “This rating is recognition of the hard work and dedication demonstrated by our personnel in their provision of care services. To receive this rating twice, is a fantastic achievement, and testament to everyone’s commitment here to patient care.”

Chief Operating Officer, Michelle Reader adds: “The area we cover and the number of service users has increased massively since our last inspection. Everyone here should be congratulated for ensuring that we continue to deliver care of the highest quality. It also means that the residents of BaNES and Swindon can now enjoy outstanding urgent care, just as their neighbours in Wiltshire have done for a number of years”. 

The CQC Inspection Team comprised of a Lead Inspector, with a GP Specialist Adviser and two Inspection Managers.

In the report, Dr Rosie Benneyworth, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Service and Integrated Care highlighted several areas of outstanding practice:

Working collaboratively with external stakeholders
“The provider worked collaboratively with external stakeholders on a range of initiatives to improve access to care and patient experience for those who were vulnerable, had a disability or were from a minority group. An example of this was the use of the Streetlink Homelessness App and delivering care for refugees being repatriated to the UK.”

Innovative approaches to providing integrated patient-centred care
“For example, the provider delivered an Urgent Care @Home service. The service ensured an integrated rapid health and social care response for service users in a health or social care crisis in their own home to avoid inappropriate admissions and expedite hospital discharges. This had not only improved patient outcomes but it has also supported the whole system in terms of increased capacity and financial savings.”

A strong emphasis on staff wellbeing
“The interventions initiated by the provider had led to a decrease in turnover of over 6% in the last 12 months. Examples of initiatives taken were a Health and Wellbeing Charter developed with staff, the introduction of Mental Health First Aiders, resilience workshops and self-awareness campaigns.”

The full report can be accessed at www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-347335038 or on the Medvivo website: www.medvivo.com/news/2019/outstanding-cqc-rating-retained

From 1 June 2019 the non-emergency patient transport service in Bath and North East Somerset, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire will be provided by E-zec Medical Transport Services – a family run company focused on delivering high quality, safe, effective transportation for patients to and from a healthcare setting.

Non-emergency patient transport is for patients who, due to their mobility needs or medical condition, are unable to travel safely by other means. Patients who wish to use the service are required to be assessed against national eligibility criteria.

Mark Harris, Chief Operating Officer, Wiltshire CCG said:
“We are delighted to partner with E-zec as our provider of non-emergency patient transport across BaNES, Gloucestershire, Swindon and Wiltshire. We have been working closely together since their appointment in December 2018 to ensure eligible patients have a great experience when using the service.”
Andy Wickenden, Commercial Director, E-zec Medical Transport Services said:
“We are very much looking forward to providing patients across the region with a high quality non-emergency transport service. We would like to thank the commissioners and Arriva Transport Solutions for the support they have provided over the last few months while we worked together to ensure a smooth handover of the service.”
Mark Feather, National Head Operations, Arriva Transport Solutions said:
“Arriva Transport Solutions has provided high-quality and caring transport for thousands of patients across the south west and helped to bring a modernised and innovative approach to patient transport at a time of increased pressures across the healthcare service.

“We are proud of the progress we have made and hope the legacy of this work will continue to benefit both patients and healthcare commissioners.”

E-zec delivers services across the UK and currently provides non-emergency patient transport services across Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Further information about the service can be found at www.bgswpatienttransport.co.uk

New non-emergency patient transport service across BaNES, Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.

From 1 June 2019, the non-emergency patient transport service in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire will be provided by E-zec Medical Transport Services – a family run company focused on delivering high quality, safe, effective transportation for patients to and from a healthcare setting.

Andy Wickenden, Commercial Director, E-zec Medical Transport Services said: “We are proud to have been selected as the preferred provider for non-emergency patient transport services across BaNES, Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. We are working closely together with the Clinical Commissioning Groups as we begin our preparations for a seamless handover and countdown to our service starting on 1 June 2019.”

Mark Harris, Chief Operating Officer, Wiltshire CCG said: “We are delighted to be working with E-zec to deliver a non-emergency patient transport service for patients across BaNES, Swindon, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. Ensuring patients have a great experience when using the service is our priority, and we have carefully designed the contract with E-zec to provide this.”

E-zec delivers services across the UK and currently provides non-emergency patient transport services across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

 

New flu jab will provide best protection to over 65s this winter season

People aged over 65 years living across Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Swindon and Wiltshire will receive a new type of flu jab this year, which is considered to be more effective than other available vaccines.

The new vaccine is one of three flu jabs that are available for the different groups of individuals who are eligible for a free vaccination, to make sure as many people as possible get the right jab to protect them against flu this winter.

Children aged from two years and up to school year five, pregnant women, anyone who is the main carer for another person or who is in receipt of carer’s allowance and those with long-term health conditions such as diabetes and asthma are also eligible for a free flu jab.

The newly available vaccine for the over 65s is expected to significantly boost effectiveness by improving the body’s immune response. This is important because older adults’ bodies typically do not respond as well to the flu vaccine due to their naturally weaker immune systems. Older adults are also more likely to suffer complications from flu.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, a Wiltshire-based GP and a Clinical Board member of the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership - which is working to join up and simplify health and social care provision for people across the region - said:
“Flu vaccinations are free for those who need them most, and they really do offer the best protection against catching flu. This year, those who are eligible across B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire will be given the best type of vaccination for their individual needs. “Flu is potentially a very serious illness and adults aged over 65 are more likely to catch it and suffer from the complications it causes than anyone else. The new enhanced vaccine for this age group will offer better protection as well as helping to reduce the spread of flu to those around them.”

This year’s NHS flu programme will also offer vaccinations to a larger group of children and all individuals aged under 65 years who fall into eligible groups will receive a vaccine that protects against four strains of flu.

The new vaccine for the over 65s is expected to reduce the number of GP consultations by 30,000, the number of people admitted to hospital by over 2,000 and prevent more than 700 deaths from flu across England, helping to reduce some of the health burden that flu can place on the NHS, workplaces and the wider population.

The flu vaccine will be available from early October. Eligible adults are encouraged to get their free vaccine from their GP or a pharmacy before the end of November to protect themselves and their families before flu reaches its seasonal peak. It is the safest and single best way to protect against a potentially very serious illness. 

If you are eligible or want to check whether you or someone close to you is, contact your GP, midwife or usual healthcare provider. Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell for more information.

Help shape and improve the future delivery of the child immunisation service in Wiltshire

Parents and carers are invited to express their views and opinions about children’s immunisations at one of three focus groups taking place across Wiltshire.

It is important children receive the best start in life. Parents are being encouraged to protect their families by ensuring their children receive the right vaccines at the right time.

This is an important opportunity to share your opinions, experiences such as the challenges you may have faced, and ideas and suggestions you may have to help shape and improve the future delivery of the child immunisation service.

Focus groups will take place:

  • 26 September 2018 in Calne 10am-1pm
  • 27 September 2018 in Salisbury 10am-1pm
  • 4 October 2018 in Trowbridge 10am-1pm

Please note that places are limited and booking closes on 23 September 2018. Find out more by reading this flyer.

For further information call Wiltshire Parent Carer Council on 01225 764647, or email them at admin@wiltspcc.co.uk

Know where to go for bank holiday health care

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging people in Wiltshire to know where to go in case they need to access healthcare advice and treatment over the bank holiday weekend.

To help with this, Wiltshire CCG has an easy to use ‘Around the clock healthcare’ leaflet that explains what services are available and when, and is downloadable from their website.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said,
“Bank holidays are extremely busy times for the NHS and we are asking people in Wiltshire to know where to go if they need to access our local health services.

“A&E departments are often thought of as the first port of call, but in many cases another service may be more appropriate such as NHS 111, minor injuries units or local pharmacy.

“Knowing where to go and when helps you and your family to access the right health care service at the right time and helps to keep the emergency services free for those patients who really need them.”

Healthcare services in Wiltshire
There are a number of healthcare services available around the clock in Wiltshire:

NHS 111 – available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and calls are free from landlines and mobiles. It is staffed by a team of fully trained advisers, supported by experienced clinicians. Healthcare advice can be given over the telephone, or you may be directed to a local service if appropriate.

Pharmacists – are experts on medicines and how they work. They can also offer advice on common complaints such as coughs, insect bites, ear ache, aches and pains and other health issues and help to decide whether it’s necessary to see a doctor. Find your nearest pharmacy: https://beta.nhs.uk/find-a-pharmacy/

Minor Injuries Units – for patients with minor injuries such as sprains and strains, cuts, infected wounds and scalds. No appointments are required and they are led by qualified nurse practitioners. For opening times of Chippenham and Trowbridge MIUs visit http://www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk/local-services/minor-injury-units

Salisbury walk-in centre – open from 6.30-10pm week days and 8am-8pm at weekends, including bank holidays. Run by a team of experienced doctors and nurses and operates on a first come first served basis, unless someone is acutely unwell and needs immediate attention. Visit www.salisburywalkincentre.co.uk for more information.

NHS Choices – the UK’s biggest health website offering thousands of articles, videos and tools, which are available 24/7.

For immediate life-threatening situations, serious injuries, loss of consciousness, chest pain or suspected stroke you should always call 999.

Families and Children’s Transformation Programme survey

The Families and Children’s Transformation Programme (FACT) is a programme of work being undertaken by a wide range of organisations looking to make lives better for children, young people and families.

The organisations involved range from the council, police, NHS and schools to family support services, early years’ providers such as children’s centres, childminders and nurseries and also includes a wide variety of community and voluntary sector partners.

The intention of the programme is to align working priorities and practices as much as possible, to make it easier for people to access consistent information, advice and support from services at a time when they need them. The programme can only do that by working with children, young people and families to find out what is most important to them.

In order to reach as many families as possible, an online survey has been created to gather views on some of the key stages of childhood and parenting. The survey can be answered by parents/carers or by children and young people looking at the questions relevant to them.

Access the survey here to share your views.
The survey closes on 7 September 2018.

Please have your say and if you have any further feedback contact FACT@wiltshire.gov.uk.

The Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Vision

During 2018, the current Health and Wellbeing Board strategy and the vision statement are being refreshed.

Local system leaders in health and social care invited you to share your views between 11 June – 3 July 2018 on what Wiltshire people consider to be the most important factors in their health and care. This will also be used to help Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire CCG to build and develop Wiltshire’s health and wellbeing strategy.

The feedback you gave us has helped us to create a new draft vision statement and we now welcome your views on our proposed version.

The vision statement will help us work out how to prioritise the money we have to help people manage their own health and wellbeing and what support people need to live independently in their own communities for as long as possible.

We would like you to read the statement below about the proposed Health and Wellbeing strategy vision and share your response to some questions about it. This survey is now closed.

Our vision for Wiltshire
People in Wiltshire live in thriving communities that empower and enable them to live longer, fulfilling healthier lives.

The final vision will be supported by strategic priorities identified from your feedback and the joint strategic needs assessment completed by Public Health Wiltshire.

Thank you for taking part – your views are very important to us!

 

The Wiltshire Vision

Local system leaders in health and social care invite anyone living in Wiltshire to take part in the development of our vision for the way we provide health and care services in the county.  Your views will help us to build and develop our health and wellbeing strategy, which sets the direction for services supporting people to live as well as possible.

We’d like you to help us to understand what Wiltshire people consider to be the most important factors in their health and care.  The feedback you give us will also help us work out how to prioritise the money we have to help people manage their own health and wellbeing, and what support people need to live independently in their own communities for as long as possible.

Everyone – no matter what age – is welcome to contribute.  This is your county, so please share your thoughts with us.

The survey is open from until noon on Tuesday 3 July 2018 and can be accessed here: Your Wiltshire Vision 2018

Alternatively click here to access the printed version of the survey which can be completed and returned via email or post.

 

CQC states that people receiving health and social care services in Wiltshire are safe

A recent and detailed review of Wiltshire’s health and social care system has found that people receiving services in the county are safe.

The Care Quality Commission is carrying out targeted reviews of health and social care in local authority areas and Wiltshire was visited on 20/21 February and 12-16 March 2018.

The review, which was coordinated by Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), also included extensive data and evidence gathering from key partners in the local adult health and social care sectors. All partners involved provided information and evidence of what it’s like to receive care in Wiltshire.

The CQC focused on five main questions in relation to service provision and the impact on users:

  • Are they safe?
  • Are they effective?
  • Are they caring?
  • Are they responsive to people’s needs?
  • Are they well led?

The final review published today (14 June) recognises the hard work and effort already being done by all partners to improve the care and support for Wiltshire residents, and provides useful insight into the areas where we acknowledge we must do more to improve for people in Wiltshire. Positive aspects outlined by the CQC include:

  • Those who needed care and support were judged to be safe.
  • The review found that there was a positive and proactive programme for the transformation of adult social care particularly around prevention, reablement and safeguarding.
  • Integrated discharge teams in the hospitals worked effectively to define the pathway of care out of hospital and to begin that process.
  • There was effective inter-agency working between the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector and hospital services in emergency departments to help people to avoid admission and return home safely.
  • People were supported to stay safely at home for as long as possible through the work of GPs and care coordinators.
  • There were systems in place to identify people who were frail or who were at risk of deterioration in their health or social situation.
  • GPs were key in supporting people to stay safe.
  • People were able to access a number of services in the community to prevent social isolation and when they came into contact with services through their GPs there was good support from them to access other services and sign-posting. They were helped to stay well at home for as long as possible.
  • Avoidable admissions to hospital from care homes in Wiltshire were low compared to similar areas and the England average, and significantly lower with regard to admissions resulting from pneumonia.
  • Frontline staff who provide care were recognised by reviewers for their commitment to achieving the best outcomes for people and being genuinely caring in their approach.
  • Staff who supported people living in Wiltshire were caring in their approach. There was a clear will to put the person at the heart of services.
  • There were systems and processes in place to ensure that people in crisis were supported through the health service.
  • People using hospital services and their loved ones were treated with dignity and respect.
  • People who were in crisis could access support from a variety of settings, and this was provided in a timely way. Wiltshire performed better than the England average in preventing admissions to hospital for common clinical conditions.
  • There were systems and processes in place to ensure that the transition between health and social care prevented any avoidable harm.
  • Acute hospitals were focused on promoting early discharges.
  • There was effective partnership working to ensure that people were discharged from hospitals safely.
  • People’s needs and choices were considered at all stages when planning their return home.
  • All services were focused on improving flow through hospitals and care, with systems being designed and redesigned according to activity and performance.
  • All services had the right skills to support the effective transition of people between health and social care.

With regard to the areas for improvement or where things need to be done differently, we have already produced a detailed action plan, and a single overarching strategy will be produced to address the following areas:

  • Continuing the programme of work to transform adult social care services
  • Adopting national best practice and reviewing the Better Care Plan and will be adding some new initiatives that have been successful across the country
  • A commitment to introduce additional Local Area Coordinators in Wiltshire by early Autumn, to support communities
  • We continue to see the number of people who are medically fit to leave hospital, and the numbers of those people who are experiencing delays in getting home, is reducing
  • Changes are being made which mean that the professionals who are the first point of contact to services are working together better to look at how people return home
  • Creating a provider led Integrated Programme Board to review and improve the post hospital discharge pathways to include Homefirst and Reablement
  • Simplifying our current complex governance structures
Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for adult social care, public health and public protection, said:
“We welcome the findings of the review and we are extremely pleased that the services we provide in Wiltshire were found to be safe.

“Given the challenge for the care and health sector this is something that is good to hear and their overall feedback and fresh perspective has been welcome and has already helped to guide improvement in our partnership working and the services we provide for residents.

“The CQC’s findings are very much in line with our own assessment of the local system and how it works, and, most importantly where further improvement can be made.

“Much of this work is already underway as we continue to work towards our long-held vision and priority to integrate health and social care. Our shared focus is to continue to develop services so that people in Wiltshire receive the best care available.”

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chairman at Wiltshire CCG said:
“This is a comprehensive and realistic report and we are grateful to our staff and colleagues for their input to it. We are of course pleased that our services are considered to be safe, but we also acknowledge we still have much to do to improve our joint services on behalf of Wiltshire people. The report shines a light on those things that we need to do better or differently and has prompted us to re-energise our efforts. We are fully committed to working closely with all of our health and care partners across Wiltshire, with renewed vigour, to provide safe, high quality and seamless services for our residents.”

As this was a review, and not an inspection, the system isn’t subject to any overall grading or mark, but a detailed assessment on how it works has been provided.

The full report will be published  at www.cqc.org.uk.

Joint corporate director post – health and social care – update

The 70th anniversary of the NHS is being widely publicised and will include the publication of a Government green paper in July to coincide with this anniversary. Whilst the contents of the paper are currently unknown, it is likely that the focus on collaborative working to integrate health and social care services will continue. 

It is also anticipated that the green paper will provide clarity on the future direction for NHS commissioning; particularly commissioning by CCGs of health services. On the basis of the anticipated change, Wiltshire Council and CCG have discussed and agreed that it would be sensible to reconsider the appointment of a joint accountable officer. 

Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for adult social care said:
“Our aim to integrate health and care services remains a priority for the council. It is extremely disappointing that the council and CCG cannot proceed, as planned, with a senior joint accountable officer post. We had viewed this role as vanguard in driving integration to improve health and care services. We will, however, continue to look at an alternative joint post with Wiltshire CCG so that we can build on what we have already achieved in integrating services for the benefit of Wiltshire residents.

“With the growing pressures on these services and the rise in the number of older people, partnership working and the delivery of joint services will be vital if we are to manage the increasing demand. Whilst we have a strategy and plan for this, the joint post was viewed as key to its delivery. We are working with our health partners to deliver changes that will help to manage the pressures and this work must and will continue.”

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chairman of Wiltshire CCG said:
“Although we do not know the contents of the paper, we are confident that our proposals for closer, collaborative working with Wiltshire Council will not be compromised. We have made great strides towards a single, overarching Health and Social care strategy, and are looking forward to a third workshop this month to continue developing our combined ambitions for integrated, seamless services for Wiltshire people”.

Strategy launched to support carers

Wiltshire Council and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working with partners in health, social care and the voluntary sector to support the thousands of Wiltshire carers who look after vulnerable loved ones.

In the last census more than 47,000 people in Wiltshire said they provided unpaid care – that’s about 10% of the population. One in five of those devote more than 50 hours every week to caring. Research suggests that there are many more who do not identify themselves as carers formally, particularly young carers and those who care for people with needs relating to mental health or substance misuse. 

This week is Carers Week (11-17 June) with individuals and groups across the country organising events to raise awareness of the vital role that carers play.

Wiltshire Carers’ Action Group (WCAG) has recently launched a five-year strategy to make sure that carers get the support they need when they need it. The joint Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire CCG strategy was co-produced with WCAG members including the Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Support, Healthwatch Wiltshire, Wiltshire Parent Carer Council, Spurgeons Young Carers, Wiltshire Citizen Advice and Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living, Wiltshire People 1st and Wiltshire carers.

The strategy aims to ensure that: ‘Carers are identified and accepted as expert partners in care; are well informed; and maintain a good quality of life and healthy lifestyle outside of their caring responsibility.’

There is a detailed implementation plan to deliver the following outcomes:

  • Carers have improved physical health, mental health and wellbeing
  • Carers are empowered to make choices about their caring role and to access appropriate support and services for themselves and the people they care for
  • Carers have the best financial situation possible, and are less worried about money
  • Carers’ needs, and the value of carers, are better understood in Wiltshire
  • Carers influence services

If you are a carer and would like to be involved in how the strategy is implemented you can contact the Carer Engagement Manager at Carer Support Wiltshire on 0800 181 4118 or email admin@carersinwiltshire.co.uk

Carer Support Wiltshire chairs the Wiltshire Carer Involvement Group and coordinates carer involvement in the development of a range of services which support carers and those they care for. Carer Support Wiltshire also runs groups across the county facilitated by Community Connectors who will help to implement the strategy at a local level.

Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for adult social care, public health and public protection, said:
“One of the most important duties we have is to protect vulnerable people in the community. Without the devotion of carers in the county that task would be incredibly difficult and costly, and place enormous strain on the resources of the council and the health service.

“Our carers do so much for the community, and it is right that the community helps them in return.”

Ted Wilson, Director of Community Services and Joint Commissioning for NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“Everybody who works in health and social care understands the vital contribution that unpaid carers make. Looking after a person that you care about is something that many of us want to do, however, we need access to timely advice and support. Our new strategy builds on the great support that is available across Wiltshire, so that carers have the help they need when they want it.”

The strategy can be found at https://www.yourcareyoursupportwiltshire.org.uk/wiltshire-home-page/content/health-and-social-care-in-wiltshire/carers-information-advice-and-services/what-is-a-carer

For more information about Carers Week please visit www.carersweek.org and https://carersupportwiltshire.co.uk/2018/05/11/celebrate-carers-week-with-csw/

Have your say on a new approach to gluten-free prescribing

Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reviewing its policy on prescribing gluten-free foods in line with national guidance and is encouraging Wiltshire patients, the public and clinicians to have their say on two proposed options.

The review follows a national public consultation in 2017 by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on the ‘Availability of gluten-free foods on NHS Prescription’ and the resulting guidance announced in February 2018 to restrict gluten-free foods to bread and mixes only – although this does not affect a CCG’s statutory authority to determine its approach at a local level.

Gluten-free prescribing began in the 1960s when no gluten-free foods or products were readily available. Today gluten-free foods are found in most supermarkets, shops and many cafes – including in Wiltshire – and competition has driven pricing down meaning they are affordable dietary alternatives.

Wiltshire CCG has a duty to ensure that the funds it has available for prescribing are spent in a way that benefits most patients. Between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018 it spent £241,487 on products such as gluten-free bread, pasta and pizza bases, items which are now readily available and competitively priced. Wiltshire is also the highest prescribing CCG in England of Juvela gluten-free bread and bread mix.

Dr Richard Sandford-Hill, Chair of Wiltshire CCG explains,
“The two options proposed are to stop prescribing all gluten-free foods in primary care, or to restrict prescribing to bread and mixes only for those patients with a diagnosis of coeliac disease and/or dermatitis herpetiformis up to the age of 18 years.

“While these proposals will reduce the amount of staple gluten-free foods available on prescription in Wiltshire, it will not affect the vital help and support available to patients diagnosed with coeliac disease and/or dermatitis herpetiformis via their GP or dietician.

“There is also no strong clinical evidence that patients who receive gluten-free food on prescription are more likely to comply with a gluten-free diet, or have better health outcomes than those who do not.”

Patients, the public and clinicians in Wiltshire are encouraged to have their say on the proposed options via a short survey available at www.wiltshireccg.nhs.uk. The survey is open until 22 July 2018.

Findings from the survey will inform the future prescribing of gluten-free foods in Wiltshire.

National survey shows improvements in women’s experiences of maternity care

Most women are having a positive experience of maternity care and treatment within the NHS, according to a survey of more than 18,000 people in England.

Published on Tuesday 30 January by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) the survey results reveal the responses from women who had given birth in February 2017 in services run by 130 NHS trusts across the country. They highlight improvements in areas such as choice of where to give birth, quality of information and access to help and support after giving birth.

Women were asked questions about all aspects of their maternity care from the first time they saw a clinician or midwife, during labour and birth, through to the care provided at home in the weeks following the arrival of their baby.

The results show that across the country, women were generally more positive about their experiences at every stage of their care, with most responses having improved or stayed the same since the survey was last carried out in 2015.

The responses to the 2017 survey show a number of notable trends, including:

  • The proportion of women who said they were offered the choice of giving birth in a midwife-led unit or birth centre has increased by seven per cent since 2013 (35% in 2013; 41% in 2015; rising to 42% in 2017).
  • Over a third of women (38%) reported that they saw the same midwife at every antenatal appointment: a 4% increase since 2013.
  • 88% of women surveyed said that they were ‘always’ treated with dignity and respect during labour and birth compared to 86% who said this in 2015 (85% in 2013).
  • The majority of women (77%) reported that they were never left alone during the birth of their baby at a time when it worried them. This compares to 74% in 2015.
  • Almost six in 10 women (59%) said they could ‘always’ get help from a member of staff within a reasonable time while in hospital after the birth: an improvement of 5% since 2015.
  • 66% of women felt they were ‘always’ given the information or explanations they needed after birth before returning home (compared with 58% in 2013).
  • 98% of women said their midwife or health visitor asked them how they were feeling emotionally during their postnatal care; however, a smaller proportion (57%) of women said they were ‘definitely’ given enough information about potential emotional changes they might experience after giving birth.
  • While there has been an increase in the number of women who reported being offered the choice about where to have their antenatal checks compared to previous years (29% in 2013 rising to 31% in 2017), the majority of women in 2017 (69 %) said they were not given a choice about this aspect of their care.

Professor Ted Baker, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said: “This year’s survey shows some very positive results about the quality of maternity care being provided in the NHS. This is a testament to efforts and dedication of staff working hard to provide care for pregnant women and new mothers across the country.

“The survey identifies a number of encouraging data trends showing improvements in women’s experiences throughout pregnancy, during birth and postnatally, and it indicates a greater focus on women’s individual needs and choices.

 “However, the scope for continued improvement remains, particularly in relation to women’s choices about their antenatal care and ensuring enough information is available to support women through any emotional changes they might experience after giving birth.  

“Our own inspection work of maternity services so far shows that the majority of trusts are providing high quality care – with over 60 per cent of hospitals rated as either Good or Outstanding for maternity. However, this also highlights that further work is needed to narrow the variation that we know exists.

 “I hope that NHS trusts will reflect on their individual results to understand what women using their maternity services really think about the care and treatment they provide. This will help them to identify where they need to make changes to drive improvements in the quality of care for the benefit of all women and their families.”

The full results for England, as well as individual results for each trust are available on the CQC’s website at www.cqc.org.uk/maternitysurvey

 This is the fifth survey of its kind that CQC has carried out in order to help NHS trusts understand what women’s experiences are of their maternity care and to make improvements. The results are used by CQC as part of its wider monitoring of NHS trusts.